Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

This second novel by Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner, is set once again in Afghanistan. I found this book more compelling than his first, perhaps because it is told through the eyes of women, but more likely because it gives more insight into the history and culture of the region. While the main character in The Kite Runner moves to the US as a child, and is an outsider when he eventually returns as an adult, the characters in this book live through the Soviet era, rule by the Mujahideen, the oppression of the Taliban, and finally the rebuilding of Kabul after the Taliban have been removed from power. During this span of thirty years, we see how the ruling parties' philosophies and views of the role of women affect the lives of Afghani citizens.

I won't give away any plot details here, other than to say that some readers may be taken aback by the cruelty to women detailed throughout the book. While heartbreaking to read about, I think it's naive to be surprised that women are treated this way, and that in some parts of the world such treatment is considered socially acceptable, so there is little to no recourse available. Hosseini does provide a balanced treatment, highlighting the decent men in addition to the monsters who seem to take delight in torture, both emotional and physical.

This is book #24 for 2008.

Note: I don't plan to write about every book that I read, although that would be my ultimate goal. For now, I'll just write a few words if I have something to say!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have long been meaning to read this book, but it has been hardback only for so terrifically long. It might be in paperback now...but, wow, they sure milked the hardback teat for as long as possible :).